(Aug. 9, 2019) Assateague Coastal Trust and the Assateague Coastkeeper have partnered with Oceana and the Ocean City Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation for the fifth annual Float for the Coast rally to raise awareness for clean water and air and healthy communities in the coastal area.

Registration and check-in will begin at 11 a.m. next Friday, Aug. 16, at 48th Street Watersports, bayside, with the flotilla launch slated to take place an hour later.

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Dozens of activists paddle out to the fourth annual Float for the Coast event outside the convention center on 40th Street last year.

“Last year, all of our participants met us at Fish Tales Bar and Grill and they launched from there and paddled down and convened behind the convention center and then paddled back to Fish Tales for the post party,” said Billy Weiland, Assateague Coastal Trust communications manager. “They’re welcome to bring their own kayaks or standup paddleboards.”

Last year, 60 people signed up for the event. 

“This year’s theme is clean water, clean air and healthy communities,” Weiland said. “It seems to be the main theme around here that everybody is really pushing for.”

The public is invited to join in the float for free using their personal kayak, standup paddleboard, canoe or any legal watercraft.

A limited number of rental kayaks will be available and can be reserved for $15 at 48th Street Watersports.

Participants will paddle from 48th Street to 40th Street and convene at noon for a rally on Isle of Wight Bay, located behind the convention center, where the Maryland Association of Counties will also be holding its annual summer meeting.

“Every political leader in the state of Maryland is in Ocean City on that Friday, including the governor,” said Assateague Coastal Trust Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips. “We know that many of Maryland’s elected officials, from the county level to the state level, will be at the convention center. So even though they might not be outside, we know they can hear us inside and they have opportunities to go to the windows or come out on the back deck and watch what’s going on.”

After the rally, which will finish around 12:30 p.m., the group will paddle to Fish Tales on 21st Street, where a happy hour hosted by RAR Brewery will take place. Merchandise will be available for purchase. Registered participants will receive a T-shirt and a free beer ticket.

“If people don’t want to paddle, they can still come out to Fish Tales and mingle with us, talk with us and really just hang out,” Weiland said.

The public is encouraged to join the party for a $10 registration fee that will include a commemorative T-shirt featuring artwork by local artist Marc Emond.

“Everybody has their own message and they make their own signs,” Phillips said. “We just congregate on the water with the signs and say a few words and then everybody turns their kayaks and then head toward Fish Tales.

“Not only is it a fun day out on the water, but it gets people on the water together,” she continued.

The event is rain or shine. Should there be rain, the rally will take place under cover at Fish Tales.

“We’re really grateful to Fish Tales for hosting us and for providing the cold brews afterwards,” Phillips said. “And to 48th Street Water Sports for working with us on making sure that everybody gets into a kayak or into a stand-up paddleboard. So many community businesses are working with us on this event … that just makes it even better.”

For more information or to register online, visit www.actforbays.org, Assateague Coastal Trust Facebook page or call Assateague Coastal Trust at 410-629-1538.

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